It is believed that divorce and moving house are the two most stressful events in life; even though most people may never (hopefully) have to go through the first, the majority end up experiencing the latter. As the world gets smaller, with the discovery of new technology and quicker methods of transport, more people find themselves travelling to new destinations for a variety of reasons. Dubai has steadily been gaining popularity as a premium location, not just for vacations, but as an exciting place to call home for many international travelers. Consequently, relocation companies have popped up all over the emirate, claiming to deliver goods in a timely and professional manner, but unfortunately, often over-promising and under-delivering.
In this guide, we give you a few essential tips to help make your move as smooth as possible so you have one less thing to worry about when arriving in Dubai. While no relocation company can give you a 100 percent guarantee that your shipment will arrive on the date promised, there are several experienced and reputable organizations that will make every attempt to ensure that their customers are satisfied. Here are some tips to help you find the right organization for your requirements.
Do your research
Prior to selecting a company, do your research on its reputation. With the internet and social media, it is virtually impossible for a company to hide negative reviews, so make sure you look for customer reviews. Keep in mind that all companies will have some negative comments from dissatisfied customers, but if one firm gets flagged repeatedly by its customers, this should serve as a warning for you. Getting a recommendation from someone who has made a similar move is a great way of narrowing down your search. Even the largest, most reputable firm may not have an office in every country they ship to, but they should have reliable partners to deliver the goods on time.
Get multiple quotes
Make sure you get at least two to three quotes from reputable companies for moving your belongings, but make sure you are comparing like for like. Ensure that the quotes you receive are for the same volume of material. We cannot stress enough that cheapest is not the best in this industry and it is well worth your while to pay the extra dollars for your peace of mind. Companies that offer to ship for far less than others may be underestimating the volume or may be unscrupulously ‘omitting’ fees that are standard and mandatory elsewhere. Also bear in mind that quotations are initial estimates and that when a company arrives to actually pack your stuff they may up the charges claiming that there is far more than they initially thought. Get a representative from the company to visit your home and do an inventory prior to submitting a quotation. Also read the contract very carefully to check what is included and don’t hesitate to ask questions if you are unclear on any part of it.
Opt for a firm with a physical location
An impressive digital presence does not automatically mean that the company is a reputable one; any firm can have a good online presence. When selecting an international relocation company, opt for one that has a physical office (if possible) that you can visit. Walk in and talk to a representative about your move. Look for signs that the firm has plenty of customers – busy phone lines, adequate staff and a knowledgeable representative are all good indicators. Ask to visit the company’s warehouse; this will give you a good idea of the quality of their packaging materials. If the company is hesitant to allow a visit, this should raise a red flag.
Give yourself plenty of time before the move
Waiting till the last minute to select a shipping company is inviting problems. Begin researching possible candidates well in advance of the move and book early with your final relocation agent, especially if you are planning the move in the peak business seasons like in the summer. Make sure that your selected company is able to handle the volume of moves during peak seasons, then sign the agreement and lock in your desired dates.
Leave the packing to the professionals
Professional moving companies have all kinds of special materials and the knowledge to pack fragile items to minimize breakage and damage during the move. Keep self-packed boxes to a minimum; customs officials in most countries tend to inspect shipments with too many ‘packed by owner’ boxes and will open up such boxes, take a look and then shove everything back in, increasing the risk of damage. Also beware of items that are illegal in Dubai and do not pack them into any of your containers. A full list of prohibited items can be found on the Dubai government’s website.
Groupage is when a container has items from different owners; this service is often offered at lower rates by shipping companies as they lose money if a container is half-filled. Groupage can slow a shipment down as the container might sit in a warehouse until it is filled. Additionally, if there is a problem with any part of the shipment, it may delay the entire shipment even if all your items are in order. If you have a small quantity of items to ship, look for a relocation company that specializes in and is experienced with groupage.
Short-term delays are to be expected, even from the most proficient companies. Once a shipment leaves a warehouse, any number of things can go wrong, causing delays in the arrival time; problems with customs, restricted items, grounding of flights at airports and weather related issue may all cause short-term delays so be patient.